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Keywords:

  • calcium;
  • nutrient intake recommendations;
  • osteomalacia;
  • vitamin D

Nutrient intake recommendations, unlike hormone replacement standards, are based empirically, rather than physiologically, i.e., they lack an a priori normal referent. Randomized controlled trials do not provide the needed referent and are unlikely to distinguish between fully normal and various suboptimal nutritional states. Several alternative approaches, each providing an a priori normal, are described and briefly discussed.